September 22, 2014
Multicultural Literature Analysis Paper
"Keep your language. Love its sounds, its modulation, and its rhythm. But try to march together with men of different languages, remote from your own, who wish like you for a more just and human world (Camara, 2014). Multicultural literature is a tool used to carry the content and languages of a diverse world to increase cultural awareness. Through shared literature, individuals learn to understand how cultural awareness is important to the growth and success of all cultural groups.
In a multicultural world, we continue to appreciate and accept our cultural similarities rather than our differences. Authors of multicultural literature play a vital role in changing negative racial, political, and economic viewpoints about specific cultural groups outside our own. In order to complete this task, multicultural authors like Ha Jin, Ken Lipenga, and Leslie M. Silko portray the history, customs, values, and languages of their particular cultural groups. This task also includes their depiction of social issues and life situations that affect each and every person, culture or society directly or indirectly. Within their literary works, these authors address their culture’s problems and situations from personal experiences and personal insight to which the reader from every ethnic or cultural group can relate. This philosophy is expressed by eJournal USA,
For 500 years, immigrants from diverse cultures have sought freedom and opportunity in what is now the United States of America. The writers among them recorded their experiences in letters, journals, poems, and books, from early colonial days to the present." (p. 1).
These various authors produce multicultural literature that enhances the understanding of others when sharing their art and culture.
Ha Jin is truly one of America’s gifted literary artist who captures his reader’s attention by focusing on the similarities in cultural viewpoints of social issues. The Boston University Arts & Science (2014) notes, Xuefei Jin (Ha Jin is his pen name) as an American author whose literary works focus on his homeland of China. Ha Jin was born in China in 1956 and was a teenager when China entered the Cultural Revolution. Jin's novel “Waiting” won him the National Book Award in 1999, and the PEN/ Faulkner in 2000. This novel was based on his experiences during his five-year service in the Red Army (para. 1). In Ha Jin's novel “The Bridegroom” he addresses the social issue of homosexuality as it relates to his homeland of china. “The Bridegroom,” is a short story about the chief of security (Cheng) who is a conformist loyal to the Chinese government. Cheng is fearful that his fellow co-workers and associates will find out that his son in-law is held by the police for homosexual acts of sodomy. While Cheng is in the courtroom to witness his son in-law’s sentencing the chief of police “Without any opening remarks he declared that we had a case of homosexuality (Bozzini & Leenerts, 2001, p. 233).” “The Bridegroom” depicts how homogenize China is unfamiliar with same sex relationships during and shortly after the Cultural Revolution. (The Cultural Revolution, was a social-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 until 1976.) Jin, in the novel, expresses the antiquated views of the Chinese people during this time through his character Chief Miao, “It’s a social disease, like gambling, or prostitution, or syphilis (233).” Jin also establishes how the punishment for any homosexual crime is judged on the severity and the attitude of the individual criminal. Depending on the individual’s remorse and mental state; the prison or mental institution sentence could be similar to the sentencing stated in “The Bridegroom,” “Every one of the men we arrested will serve a sentence, from six to five years (233).” Still today